Podcast Simon & Sergei: Rights in Russia week-ending 3 April 2020 with Lev Ponomarev

This week Simon Cosgrove and Sergei Nikitin talk with Lev Ponomarev (pictured left), long-time head of For Human Rights, one of Russia’s leading human rights NGOs. This podcast is in the Russian language. To listen to the podcast, choose either Podcasts.com, SoundCloud, Spotify or iTunes.

In this podcast, Lev Ponomarev talks about the current state of the NGO he heads, For Human Rights, his recent arrest and injury as he took part in a peaceful picket outside the FSB headquarters on Lubyanka Square in Moscow, the proposed changes to the Constitution and the impact of the Coronavirus in Russia. More generally, the matters discussed include the main tasks facing human rights defenders in Russia today, the repressive measures against civil society groups and the restrictions on right of association, the distinction between civil society activists and human rights defenders, between human rights activism and politics, and between different generations of activists. The recent interview with Sotavision to which Lev refers a couple of times during the podcast can be found here. A summary of some of the week’s relevant events in Russia can be found on our website here. This podcast is in the Russian language. 

Sergei Nikitin adds on Facebook: “In an interview I gave a long time ago I talked about my past, and mentioned the fact that I had studied the physics of semiconductors at the [then Leningrad] Polytechnical University. And in response, I was asked why there were so many physicists in the human rights movement…

“Lev Aleksandrovich Ponomarev is a physicist. He has a doctorate in physical and mathematical sciences and is someone who actually knows about the theory of the formation and resonance of hadron particles. In 1989 Ponomarev was a confidant, supporter and representative of another physicist – Andrei Sakharov – in the elections to the Congress of Soviet People’s Deputies. I believe it was then, in the 1980s, that Lev Aleksandrovich began his successful activity in a field far from hadron particles, but one that was to have great resonance.

“Yesterday Simon Cosgrove and I spent an hour in the company of Lev Ponomarev – a fascinating interlocutor, a brave person, participant in numerous human rights projects and the long-term leader of the human rights organisation, For Human Rights. We recommend our latest podcast to you, and trust you will find it as interesting to listen to as we did to record.”

Simon Cosgrove adds: “A summary of some of the week’s events in Russia relevant to human rights can be found on our website here. If this podcast does not play immediately on the podcast.com website, please download by clicking on the three dots to the right. Or listen on Spotify or iTunes.”

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